I am convinced that LinkedIn is a useful channel to help senior colleagues better understand how online networks work, and how these networks can be a useful day-to-day tool.
LinkedIn doesn’t require a regular commitment to publish or share information and is easy to use. You can pick and choose how much information you share, and accept or ignore contact requests.
I’ve been away from the digital ranch for the past few months. I set myself a personal objective to try and work out how digital engagement can be brought to senior colleagues, in a way that makes it useful and meaningful, and empowers them to talk about it with real confidence and enthusiasm.
Well, my time is almost up, so I have been starting to introduce LinkedIn to the office.
This is how I’ve pitched it:
- It’s like a 21st century Rolodex. Get rid of those pesky business cards and put all your contacts in one place.
- Once all those contacts are together, see how they link with each other, and keep track of the movers and shakers.
- Help your team to help you research the table plan for tonight’s reception, or tomorrow’s breakfast meeting. LinkedIn is generally a more reliable first stop than trawling Google for press releases and conference biographies.
- Share your network and profile with your staff. An invitation to connect on LinkedIn could be highly valued by staff who don’t get to see you very often.
Having said LinkedIn doesn’t require much work to maintain, it does need some effort, particularly to set up properly.
- Complete your profile. A clear photo, employment history, education and links to relevant sources of information online (your corporate blog or website, for example) are essential.
- Be clear with yourself about how you will build your contacts list. Don’t feel obliged to accept connections from people you don’t know, even if they are in the same industry. LinkedIn works best when you maintain a fine balance between quality and quantity.
- Start connecting with people, but make sure you edit each invitation to make it personal.
- If you find a potential connection hasn’t completed the profile and clearly doesn’t use LinkedIn to any great extent, then they’re probably not worth adding. An incomplete or out-of-date profile won’t be much use against those original reasons for using LinkedIn, described above.
- See who has been checking you out. The option to see who has been viewing your profile is one of the most useful aspects, particularly if you are tapping up your offline network for new work opportunities.
That’s a good start. Take things on a stage by:
- Keeping your profile up-to-date: changes in job, a new photo now and again and updated biography all help keep your profile refreshed.
- Sharing links to articles you have been reading, or conferences you are attending, in the status update bar. This gives your profile a slot in your contact’s news feed, just to remind them you are there.
- Find some professional interest groups and join in the conversations. Choose carefully; some are more active than others.